You know what I hate? I hate it when someone has a great idea for a beer but doesn’t quite follow it through. “I just added a hint of buchu but not so much that you’d taste it“. Then why bother? “It’s an IPA but I didn’t want it to be too hoppy“. Well it isn’t a bloody IPA then is it?
But no one could ever accuse Ivan Beukes of Mtunzini Brewery of half-assing the spice addition to his simply named Chilli Beer.
The chilli is there on the first whiff and since the base beer is a blonde ale, there are no strong malt or hop flavours to get in the way. On a single sniff I felt like I was already in a Tex-Mex restaurant munching nachos. And then you get to sip.
In my opinion, this is a brilliantly-made beer. It’s definitely chilli but it’s unmistakably an ale as well. That might sound weird but so many flavoured beers somehow tasting more like whatever flavour has been added than actual beer. This marries the two, no doubt in part because real chilies are used in the boil, not some sort of synthetic flavourant.
Much like a spicy dish, the chilli burn hits once you’ve swallowed and of course, the more you swallow, the more chilli you get. If you don’t like spice then you’re not going to enjoy this beer, but then why would you order a chilli beer if you’re not a fan of heat?
Where? Mtunzini’s beers are yet-launch, though you will find them at certain festivals. If you do find them anywhere, please give me a shout!